• Home
  • Guidelines on Academic Appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Guidelines on Academic Appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


To serve as the official statement on matters relating to academic appointments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applies to: 

Those holding academic, probationary and other appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Policy Statement: 

The following guidelines serve as the official statement on matters relating to academic appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.


The caliber of appointments to the College faculty is rightly a concern of the whole faculty. The principal responsibility for academic recruitment lies with the individual unit. It is the task of each unit to serve as a steward for the interests of the College faculty in ensuring appointments of distinction in scholarship and teaching. The College is part of a comprehensive University, one emphasizing scholarship in its broadest sense (i.e., the generation and dissemination of knowledge within and outside the classroom). All faculty appointments shall be made only after the unit and the Dean are satisfied that the candidate exemplifies the highest possible scholarly caliber. Not only shall the quality of the candidate be strong, but the commitment to affirmative action and cultural diversity shall be high and evident at every stage of the search process.


Units shall note that our University adheres to a general agreement among American universities that offers should not be made later than May 1st, consistent with the faculty member's obligation to resign, in order to accept other employment, by no later than May 15th. It is recognized that in special cases, it might be appropriate to make an offer after May 1st, but in such cases, there should be an agreement by all concerned parties, including the Provosts at both institutions.


Authorization for Search. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Associate Deans will review with their respective department chairs and program directors any pressing faculty needs within their units. In these discussions, chairs/directors should recommend a competitive starting salary, as well as recruitment package required (similar to that offered by other major institutions recruiting for similar positions) for each faculty position requested. Disciplinary newsletters are good sources of information on the "market rate" for any particular position. During the summer, the Dean, in consultation with staff, will reach a decision on hiring priorities and whether a search will be authorized. Should a faculty search be approved, the Dean will send written authorization to the unit outlining the parameters of the search. Searches normally will be expected to be completed within the academic year.


The Search. A search committee should be appointed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Department of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity, Recruitment Guidelines for Unclassified Staff and Faculty. Units should be mindful of the participation of students on a search committee insofar as students should never vote when that vote directly affects the outcome of the process. Non-binding votes from students, however, can be taken at any time. These votes, however, are advisory to the faculty only. Finally, the faculty may or may not consider student input when casting their votes in the process.


The search committee chair shall have an initial meeting with a member of the Department of Human Resources/Equal Opportunity (HR/EO) to insure that procedures for search, selection, and screening are properly carried out. The search committee must endeavor to solicit candidates from underrepresented groups (i.e., women and underrepresented minorities). There are many ways of doing this, including the use of contacts within the discipline likely to be aware of qualified candidates from underrepresented groups. Units should also contact the Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity through the Provost's Office; this position can facilitate making available a person of similar background, interests, ethnicity, or gender of the candidate to give their perspective on the campus and local community climate.


During the search process, the department chair should provide the contact Associate Dean with the vitae and any other appropriate materials for the top three candidates identified. Once the College Dean's Office approves the candidates during the "Pre-Interview Summary" stage, HR/EO will then verify work eligibility of the candidate(s). With the approval of the Dean and the work eligibility verified by HR/EO, the unit can then proceed to invite three candidates for on-campus interviews.


The Interview. The search committee shall refer to the screening section in the Recruitment Guidelines for Unclassified Staff and Faculty. Normally, three candidates will be interviewed for a position. Candidates invited for an interview should be scheduled for half-hour meetings with the contact Associate Dean. The Dean of the College and the Office of the Provost, or their designees, must interview all candidates at the rank of Associate or Full Professor; they may also interview other candidates if such an interview is desired by the unit or the College Dean's Office. The unit shall include in the interview schedule representatives of allied units and affected classes. Members of allied units should be encouraged to attend a colloquium or seminar presentation by the candidate.


The Offer. At the conclusion of the interview process, the unit should forward a recommendation for a verbal offer to the contact Associate Dean. Once the unit has been given authorization to make an offer of appointment, the chairperson/director may then make informal contact with the candidate and let the candidate know about the conditions of the appointment. All commitments to the candidate, including salary, starting date, appointment terms, and associated start-up costs, shall be discussed with the contact Associate Dean and specified in writing to the candidate. The Memorandum of Appointment Expectations document shall carry the endorsement of the appropriate contact Associate Dean. Expectations about research, teaching, and service obligations are to be clearly communicated to the candidate in this document. From time to time, particularly in the case of appointments in the sciences, certain laboratory equipment, space commitments, or other commitments may be combined with the offer. Again, it is a firm College policy that such commitments will be made in writing at the time the offer is tendered.


The terms of an offer to an individual shall be consistent with the announcement of the position. Each of the following shall be stated clearly in the documentation offering an appointment: (a) the initial rank; (b) the length of the appointment; (c) conditions of renewal; (d) the salary; (e) the duties of the position; (f) as applicable, whether the appointment is with tenure, the amount of credit toward tenure for prior service, and the maximum length of the probationary period; (g) as applicable, the institution's "start-up" commitments for the appointment (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, renovations); (h) the date when the appointment begins and the date when the candidate is expected to report; (i) the date by which the candidate's response to the offer is expected, which should not be less than two weeks from the tender of the offer; and (j) details of institutional policies and regulations that bear upon the appointment. Specific information on other relevant matters also should be conveyed in writing to the prospective appointee.


Once all commitments have been negotiated with the candidate, the unit recommends the candidate's appointment by effecting the Approval for Written Offer Form (AFWO); the AFWO is then forwarded to the Dean's Office for approval and then forwarded to the Provost's Office for final generation of an official offer letter.


Determination of the amount of credit toward tenure for prior service and the maximum length of the probationary period is made by the Office of the Provost. This information will be specified on the official offer letter. When the Provost's Office forwards an official offer letter to the unit via the Dean's Office, the offer shall be promptly forwarded to the candidate, along with the Transmittal Cover Letter and the Memorandum of Appointment Expectations and Responsibilities. The written offer of appointment shall be given to the candidate within ten days of the institution having conveyed an intention to make the offer; a candidate should be informed promptly if the offer will not be forthcoming within ten days.


If, during the search process, all three candidates decline the offer of employment, a request for an extension of the search should be made through the contact Associate Dean. The Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity, as well as the Provost's Office, should be notified about the search status.


Academic Appointments in the College. There are two kinds of regular faculty appointments in the College that are tenure-related: 1) tenured appointments and 2) probationary appointments. In addition, there are non-tenure related appointments or 3) other appointments in the College such as part-time lecturer, full-time term lecturer track, Visiting Professor, and Graduate Teaching Assistant appointments.


1. Tenured Appointments:


· Candidates without Tenure Elsewhere. As a genera1 rule, the College does not grant "instant tenure" to a candidate who has not held a tenured position elsewhere. A unit wanting to make an exception for an outstanding candidate must make the case for it to the Dean. If the Dean finds the case compelling, the Dean will request the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure review the record of the candidate and ask for its recommendation.

· Candidates with Tenure Elsewhere. If a candidate to be interviewed has tenure at another institution and, in the judgment of the unit, is presumptively eligible for a tenured position at KU, the Dean will forward the candidate's vita and the research and teaching portfolios to a subcommittee of the College Committee an Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure for review. The subcommittee will forward to the Dean a recommendation assessing the tenure potential of the candidate.


Subcommittee recommendations for candidates with or without tenure elsewhere shall include a report assessing the tenure potential of the candidate, as well as confirmation of appropriate rank. Provision of a concise statement of research, teaching, and service with the recommendation for appointment with tenure assists the Provost's Office in their final review of the committee and ultimately the Dean's recommendations.


2. Probationary Appointments:


All other appointments to the faculty (except for visiting, part-time, and ''other" appointments outlined below) will be probationary appointments. A probationary contract is for one year only, but it is annually renewable for a probationary period not to exceed a total of six years. The appointment of a probationary faculty member who has completed all requirements for the terminal degree (normally the Ph.D.) is made at the rank of Assistant Professor. Only in very rare circumstances is a probationary appointment made at the Associate Professor level. In the case of an appointment of a candidate without the terminal degree, the initial appointment will be made at the rank of Acting Assistant Professor. In such cases, the College specifies that within 12 months of the candidate's initial appointment date, the degree must be completed. If the degree is not completed by that time, the candidate's next academic year (or second year of appointment) will constitute the candidate's terminal year appointment. For candidates for whom this applies, departments must communicate this statement in the Memorandum of Appointment Expectations and Responsibilities document that is transmitted to the candidate.


Policy on Interruption of the Probationary Period. Occasionally during the probationary period, personal circumstances may prevent a faculty member from carrying out a significant portion of the responsibilities of the faculty member's tenure-earning position. In such cases, the faculty member may have difficulty maintaining the necessary progress toward meeting the required academic responsibilities for the award of tenure within the specified period. In some unusual situations, the personal circumstances may qualify the family member for certain types of leave or reduction in appointment that extend the tenure clock. Under such unusual circumstances, a faculty member in a tenure-earning position may request, and, if determined eligible, may receive (a) family medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), (b) non-scholarly leave without pay, (c) part-time appointment or (d) under unexpected special and extenuating circumstances, an extension of the tenure clock for a maximum of one year. The effect of each of these options is to provide the faculty member a period of time that is not included in the probationary period to address the specific circumstances. No promotion and tenure committee at any review level will discriminate against faculty members who are granted extensions of the tenure clock under this policy. The complete text of this policy is available in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, Section C.2.c.2.


In addition, a faculty member may have the tenure-clock interrupted due to the birth, adoptive placement, or adoption of a child. KU Faculty Governance policy permits an untenured faculty member to interrupt the tenure clock for one year upon birth or adoption of a child under the age of five and to do so a maximum of two times before the fifth year of the probationary period. Upon notification to the Provost and prior to May 1st of the fifth year of the probationary period, the faculty member shall be granted a one-year delay of the pre-tenure and tenure reviews. Notification must occur within 90 days of the birth, adoptive placement, or adoption.


In addition to these two types of tenure-related appointments, there are also other appointments. These include part-time lecturer appointments, full-time term lecturer track appointments, Visiting Professor, affiliate (adjunct/courtesy) appointments, and special visiting appointments (e.g., the Rose Morgan and Langston Hughes Professors). None of these appointments are tenure accruing.


3. Other Appointments (Part-time, Full-time Term Lecturer Track, Visiting Professor, and Graduate Teaching Assistant Appointments).


From time to time, part-time lecturer, full-time term lecturer track, visiting professor, and Graduate Teaching Assistant appointments will be made in a unit. Our Equal Opportunity policies require that the same scrutiny be given to these appointments that are also given to probationary and tenured appointments.


Part-time Lecturer: Lecturers may be hired on a part-time basis to meet specific short-term instructional needs. Part-time appointments are for a specified period within the academic year. After the initial appointment, subsequent appointments may be offered based upon performance, instructional needs, and funding. Cumulative full-term appointments must not exceed three academic years (or six semesters at full-time employment.) These appointments are not eligible for tenure or for senior or University lecturer designation.


Full-time Term Lecturer Track: Full-time term appointments as lecturer may include appointment as senior or university lecturer. Lecturers in this track may be hired initially for a fixed period of no more than three years, with the contractual provision that a lecturer position does not lead to tenure or a tenure-track position. At the end of the contract term, absent action by the University, the contract ends. There is no automatic renewal of a lecturer appointment at the end of the contract. If, upon evaluation by a unit, it is determined that a lecturer has met all requirements and demonstrated potential for future term appointments, the University may offer a second three-year contractual appointment. Following the second contract appointment, a unit may offer subsequent contracts for a term of no more than five years each. However, in no event will an appointment as lecturer ever lead to tenure. Appointments as senior lecturer and University lecturer may occur after appropriate review at the unit and College levels, and with the approval of the Provost.


Visiting Professor: Visiting Assistant, Visiting Associate, and Visiting Professors may be hired to perform instruction and research responsibilities; these positions may perform service responsibilities as well. These positions are beginning, intermediate, and senior level faculty positions that are limited term for no more than two academic years and normally are not eligible for reappointment. The Ph.D. or terminal degree is required for a visiting appointment. These positions do not count towards eligibility for tenure or sabbatical.


Graduate Teaching Assistants: Graduate teaching assistants (GTA's) are an important component of the teaching and research programs of the College. The purposes of GTA appointments are threefold: 1) to strengthen the graduate programs of the College, 2) to provide experience to students aspiring to be the faculty of tomorrow, and 3) to assist in providing undergraduate instruction. All GTA appointments are governed by the Memorandum of Agreement between the University, Kansas Board of Regents, and the Kansas Association of Public Employees (KAPE), which represents graduate teaching assistants on the Lawrence campus. All GTA appointments must conform to the terms of the memorandum. Please visit the Provost's Office website for the complete texts of the memorandum at



Joint Appointments. The following expectations concerning the joint appointment of faculty members are primarily drawn from the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, Section C.2.a.2., Guidelines for Joint Appointments.


Purpose and Background. The University of Kansas has a record of encouraging multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary activities. Many types of joint arrangements are possible. The guidelines and policy set forth below are intended to provide general principles that apply to all joint appointments. Three types of positions are affected: non-tenurable, tenure-track, and tenured.


General Hiring Principles.

· Employer: An individual is employed by the University, not by departments or major academic units. The designation of "tenure" resides with the University, not with a specific unit.

· Primary/secondary unit designations: In every joint appointment, one of the units involved will be designated the primary unit. Any other unit(s) in which the faculty member serves will be designated as a secondary unit(s). A primary unit is named only to ensure that policies and procedures concerning joint appointments are followed. Such designation does not limit the authority or responsibility of the administrator(s) of the secondary unit(s).

· Written agreement: Everything possible should be done to minimize complications or misunderstandings that might arise from joint appointments. It is the policy of the College and University that every joint appointment will be based on a written agreement, approved, in advance, by all concerned parties. Such agreements, whether applied to an initial hire or to a change in the appointment of an individual already employed by the University, must initially be approved the College Dean's Office. The administrator of the primary unit will be responsible for coordinating the drafting of the written agreement, with final review and approval by the secondary unit(s) and the relevant administrator(s). The agreement must include the following:

1. the term for which the agreement will remain in force;

2. the fraction of the appointment supported by each unit;

3. the duties and responsibilities of the individual on behalf of each unit;

4. the nature of the appointment and the percentage of effort expected in each role;

5. the methods, if any, to be pursued in changing the percentage of such appointments;

6. the units' expectations for successful tenure or promotion;

7. voting rights in departmental and College assemblies, and on University-wide issues; and,

8. the procedures for soliciting input from the secondary unit for promotion and tenure processes and/or merit salary allocations.

·Duties: Full-time faculty members are typically evaluated for merit, promotion, and tenure based on a weighing of 40% research, 40% teaching, and 20% service. In the case of halftime joint appointments, evaluation is typically based on a weighing of 20% research, 20% teaching, and 10% service in each academic unit. For a joint appointment involving an academic and non-academic unit, the weighing on the academic unit is typically 20% research, 20% teaching, and 10% service; the weighing on the non-academic unit is typically a 50% research and service allocation of effort. Annual teaching and service assignments should be made in consultation with the heads of both units.


Leaves Without Pay. A leave without pay (LWOP) may be granted for one semester, the academic year, or the fiscal year by the Chancellor of the University to nurture faculty development. A leave without pay is for one year only with subsequent annual requests for extensions required. Under Regents policy, the Chancellor may grant a maximum of three (3) consecutive one-year leaves.


A leave may be requested to teach at another institution, to receive a research grant, to work on special research opportunities, to undertake a public responsibility, or, from time to time, for personal reasons. No leave may be granted to any employee who has accepted a permanent position (i.e., a tenure-track or tenured position) with another post-secondary education institution.


Each unit within the College shall develop and maintain written policies concerning the circumstances under which LWOP will be recommended by the chair/director to the College. The unit policy shall indicate a date by which an application must be made. Ordinarily, a leave application for the full academic year or the fall semester should be in the hands of the chair/director as early as possible, but no later than May 1st. An application for spring semester leave should be made before November 1st. Only under exceptional circumstances should a unit forward a LWOP request after these dates.


A request for LWOP shall be forwarded to the chair/director of the unit(s) in which the faculty member holds a primary/secondary appointment. If the chair approves it, the request should be endorsed and forwarded to the Dean with a statement concerning the value to the University of granting the leave. If the Dean approves it, the Dean will forward the endorsed request to the Provost's Office for subsequent endorsement.


If there is some uncertainty about whether a faculty member intends to return to the College after a leave, the unit should reach an agreement on a date when a decision can be expected from the faculty member on leave. This is an altogether reasonable request to make, since planning for the future will be affected significantly by an impending departure.


Normally, a leave without pay for up to three years may be granted by the Chancellor. Any extension of a leave without pay beyond three years requires the approval of the Board of Regents. The request for an extension should explain the extraordinary circumstances that justify a leave beyond three years and should address the value of the leave activity to the University, the measures taken to provide for teaching and other responsibilities of the faculty member, and assurance that the individual plans to return to the University at the end of the extended leave.


The replacement of faculty members who are working on a grant, are on LWOP, or on sabbatical must be negotiated with the contact Associate Dean.


Erin Spiridigliozzi

Assistant Dean for Faculty and Staff Affairs


Approved by: 
Dean Joseph Steinmetz
Approved on: 
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Effective on: 
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Academic appointments, faculty appointments, tenured appointments, probationary appointments, joint appointments, leave without pay
Change History: 

07/12/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.

06/03/2016: Migrated from previous Policy Library system.

School/College Policy Categories: 
Additional Policies

Can't Find What You're Looking For?
Policy Library Search
KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times